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In some families of large mammals (Cervidae, Bovidae, Canidae), authors examined relationships between the various mating systems adopted and biochemical-genetic variation measured in terms of the mean proportion of polymorphic loci (P), mean heterozygosity (H) and derived coefficients, such as the ratio Pt:P and F IS. Hypothesis was the genetic variability decreases as the degree of polygyny of the mating system adopted increases. Most of the data were in accordance with this prediction, but also some ambiguous results could be observed. Methodological and practical difficulties connected with our synoptical approach, such as the lack of comparability among most electrophoretic studies and the general scarcity of quantitative behavioural data are critically discussed.